In my column of Monday 27th of last month, I undertook to do a series on the fading societal acceptance of the AFC. In that first piece, I laid the theoretical groundwork for looking at the self-effacing AFC since it got hold of state power in association with the PNC (as an analyst, I don’t believe there is an effective APNU; really who or what are the other parties) in 2015.
There isn’t space to recap the contents of part one; suffice it to say that the AFC was born in a Guyana that had become a socially-poisoned chalice without even a tiny indication of a redeemable future. The AFC, then, at its birth, inherited all the defects of Guyana’s depraved, outlived, un-modern political culture. When it came to power, it did what was natural to its nature – it displayed that backward political culture that the PPP and PNC practice.
At this stage, the reader may ask that if this is so, how come Nagamootoo and Ramjattan rebelled in the PPP and Trotman was alienated from the PNC? If they have become like the leaders in those two behemoths, why didn’t they stay and climb to the top? The answer to that will necessitate a separate column. For now, I don’t believe Nagamootoo rejected the PPP, and Trotman, the PNC, solely because of deep nationalist commitment to a democratic future. Both situations have their own dynamics that need to be researched.
In the case of Ramjattan; he did reject the unpalatable attitudes in the PPP as a matter of principle. The question then is; why these three men did not carry over their maverick politics to the AFC? The answer is power. If the AFC was still in the opposition, these three men would have significantly contributed to the building of a new way of thinking.
Unfortunately, the AFC’s life as a contributor to the emergence of a democratic culture was short-lived. It came on the scene at the end of 2005 and in ten years’ time, had acquired state power. The enjoyment of state power has destroyed the raison d’être of the AFC. I cannot think of any other way of putting it, except in the words of Dr. David Hinds – they are power drunk.
In this second part of the series, I look at how the existing political culture destroyed the AFC. In doing so, one must keep in mind at all times that our diseased political culture reinforces the arrogance and hogging of power.
In part three, I will compare the class origins of the AFC on the one hand and that of the PPP and the PNC on the other. A caveat is in order; you cannot methodologically separate a party’s political culture from its class derivatives. If I was doing an academic paper, on the AFC, then I would have covered both grounds in a single argument. For now, because of column space, I will look at political culture.
Once in power, the AFC displayed surrender to Guyana’s morbid political culture. First, elitism in leadership emerged and is very pronounced in the present structure of the AFC. Only a select few make decisions, even though the party went through and still goes on with the semblance of democratic meetings of its management committee. And it is getting worse. At its last meeting of its 30-member, National Executive Committee, a few weeks ago, a non-member was invited.
When two members objected to his presence, the usual suspects in the leadership overruled them, without any dissent from the floor. At those high-level sensitive meetings, an invitee is asked to speak on a specific topic then leave. But in the AFC, the arrogance of leadership matches any manifestation seen in the two Leviathans. This backward political culture was seen recently when the usual suspects met at an AFC’s minister’s office, and among them chose Trevor Williams without summoning the 13-member management committee that could have met in half an hour’s time.
One must recall the controversy in January at its National Executive Conference in Vreed-en-Hoop, when the usual suspects were accusing each other of not adhering to the AFC’s constitution.
More than a year ago, there were the AFC’s vicious attacks on me and David Hinds. Now two weeks ago, Henry Jeffrey came in for his share. These are the symptoms of an old political culture, where critical discourse on state power is met with nasty denunciations and pompous intolerance.
So what happened to the three mavericks we referred to above? The answer is simple – power simply destroys the human soul.
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